Rooting for Mother Earth

Combating climate change one tree at a time.

Spekboom! Kay, one of the members of Khuthaza Foundation jokingly referred to the succulent, native to the eastern part of South Africa as the Greta Thunberg of succulents. Judging by the way that everyone is going crazy by it and its ability, I don’t blame her. It can sequestrate 4 – 8kg of carbon dioxide per year per fully grown plant, is resilient and can survive for about 200 years. If that is not special, then I do not know what is. There’s no doubt that perhaps there are plants that are equivalent to the spekboom and even better in terms of ability but this is the one that is currently “trending” and I think we need to ride this wave as much as we can.

Understanding the grave danger that global warming brings to the world, more and more citizens and organizations alike are using all their resources to plant as many spekboom plants as possible. Khuthaza Foundation is no different, with that in mind, our objective, on the 20th of February 2020, was to plant 2020 trees in Robyn Park., north of Johannesburg.

To be able to get this done we had to tick a few boxes. First, we had to find a trustworthy supplier to deliver this much spekboom without compromising the quality and health of the plants. Secondly, we had to get donations because the 2020 trees in total would cost us R20 200.00 and lastly we had to make sure that we had enough volunteers to plant all the trees on the day.

We were lucky enough to find the Owl Sanctuary in Magaliesburg who supplied us with the best spekboom you’ll find. Some of the proceeds they use to take care of the Owls that they rescue, so if you are looking for spekboom please do reach out to them. “Aim for the moon and if you fail you will land amongst the stars”, a chap once said. With the help of Generation B, Klein Jukskei River Group and several other organizations and individuals, we were able to raise money for 1800 trees and this would not have been possible without the hard work from the team. This meant that we were able to collect enough trees to sequestrate about 10 tons of Carbon Dioxide per year.

The drizzly morning of the 20th of February 2020 came and the rain did nothing to deter the excellent turn out we had. We had organizations like Generation B from Buhler, DSM Nutritional Products, Gauteng Scouts, Tax IT, Pilates Plus, One Young World Ambassadors and Eden Glen High School staff and learners. We would like to thank everyone that made this day possible and we would last, but not least like to thank Aditi Lachman and Brandon Deonarain for taking beautiful videos and pictures of the event.

Volunteer unloading spekboompies

One thing we have learnt during the planning of the event is that if the spekboom is not managed and planted in a controlled environment then they can prove to be invasive to the habitat. That made the park the perfect place to plant the spekboom because the park is maintained and any undesired growth, can be prevented.

The day was filled with lots of hard work, sweat, laughter and lots of cross-learning between ourselves and the volunteers. Some of the high school learners were also able to have a career discussion with the professionals that were in attendance. I think one of the many best moments of the day was when one of the mothers brought her kids and the previous day, they had a speaker come talk to them about spekboom, its awesome properties and the role it can play toward carbon dioxide sequestration. Having to now see the plant and actually plant a few was indeed a day that I think the youngsters will never forget.

That is why we do what we do, no one can make a difference alone. There’s a saying that “to fight global warming you don’t need a few people doing the perfect things but you need many people trying imperfectly to make a difference”. To extend on that, we need the younger generation to pick up the spear and start marching forward and not blame the past generations for their mistakes, it’s time for us to make a difference and in Michael Jackson’s words “we need to be the change that we want to see in the world”. 

There is no silver bullet unfortunately to the problem of global warming and spekboom is no different but the 20th of February 2020 will be marked as a day that many people came together and took a unified step towards the right direction. 

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